The 6 most common reasons why you aren’t getting bigger is something every serious out there needs to know about.
Maybe you’ve been training for a few months – or years – and haven’t seen the type of gains you expected. You see those huge guys on the covers of magazines (or even those kind of big guys at the gym) and figure you’d be much further along by now.
Well the truth is that very few people succeed at building a great physique.
Today we’ve put together a list of reasons why most people fail at this. After reading it ask yourself where you have been struggling. If you haven’t got the types of gains you’ve expected then one or more of these factors will definitely resonate with you.
Make sure to avoid mistakes and these 6 most common reasons why you aren’t getting bigger!
The 6 Most Common Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Bigger
1 – Your Diet Sucks
First of all, you aren’t eating enough. If you want to put on mass you really need to eat like a horse. Let me guess – you already eat a lot it’s just that your metabolism is so high that it burns everything off? That’s an excuse – you just simply aren’t eating enough food.
Provided that you are doing a solid resistance training routine you should be putting on at least two pounds per month if your diet is solid. Any less than that and you simply aren’t throwing back enough calories. Don’t blame it on your metabolism!
If you are actually going to the gym and working hard then you obviously aren’t lazy. You are putting in hard work in one area so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to carry that over to your diet. The first thing we recommend you do is figure out just how many calories you are actually consuming.
Get a notepad and pen and write down everything you eat for a few days and tally up the calories. This is often enough to identify the issue with most people’s diets. They claim they were eating 4,000 calories per day but after adding everything up it was more like 2,500. Next we’ll examine the macronutrient breakdown of what you are eating.
If you aren’t consuming at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight then you aren’t giving your body the building blocks it needs to grow. Finally we look at the number of meals you consume each day. Chances are if you are well short of your daily intake goal it’s because you aren’t eating often enough. Aim for once every 3 hours and you should have a much easier time hitting your target.
Does eating every three hours sound too difficult? Well this is how you would go about doing it. Have your first meal at 6:00 AM when you wake up.
Then consume your next meal around 9 – it doesn’t need to be a huge meal, maybe a protein shake or some almonds.
Then continue every three hours until you hit 5-6 meals and your daily calorie target.
While eating every 3 hours makes it easier to hit your goals, it also helps prevent your body from going into a catabolic state. That means your body won’t break down muscle in order to get enough energy – it will instead use the carbs you are consuming and the fat stores on your body.
If you are the type of person who eats 3 meals per day with nothing in between then you need to make some changes ASAP if you want to start seeing some steady gains.
With that said, it’s important to note we don’t recommend increasing your calorie intake all the way to 6,000 calories on day 1. If you do you will probably get sick and throw up or feel extremely lethargic.
You need to gradually increase calories each week until you get to a point where you are gaining about 1 pound of bodyweight per week. You can switch to 6 meals right away but you want to keep them small. As you increase the calories you can add more to each serving. For example, instead of consuming two eggs for breakfast you can have three or even four.
Generally speaking it’s easier to hit your macro goals if you stick to the same meals each day as you can plan out a proper meal plan however you can certainly re-arrange the order of these meals or have a few you swap in or out depending on how you feel.
One thing you might have noticed here is that none of this is particularly complicated. Anyone can do it and the information to help you achieve your goals is out there. It really takes discipline – are you going to follow your diet strictly and get all the nutrients you need? Or are you going to half-ass it and not take things seriously?
If you want this badly enough you will do what it takes so make a commitment now or go join a CrossFit gym.
If you are having a hard time consuming so much food one great way to throw down additional calories is to have liquid meals. Weight gain drinks for example are great because you can blend together a bunch of ingredients like oats, peanuts and whey protein that will help you hit your macros.
It’s actually much easier to consume these foods when they are in liquid form and you can easily bring them with you. There are a plethora of recipes out there you can use or you can experiment on your own and figure out which ones you like the best.
One reason a lot of guys avoid consuming too many calories is that they are afraid of putting on body fat. Guys who were chubby when they were younger are particularly guilty of this as they are afraid of returning to their old physiques. The truth is that if you put on 50 pounds in a year not all of it will be muscle.
You will gain some water weight and bone density will change but you will also put on some fat – it’s as simple as that. Having said that, remember that muscle burns a lot of calories on its own, so by increasing muscle mass you will also be increasing your metabolism.
When your bulk is done and you are looking to cut that fat you will have a much easier time. However, make sure you don’t go overboard during your bulk and put on too much fat otherwise you will spend months dieting down to get rid of it.
We would all like to be able to bulk up without putting on any fat but that’s simply not realistic. If you want to put on as much mass as possible you are going to have to deal with some stomach fat. A lot of skinny guys waste years of training because they want to stay at low body fat levels while they bulk – which results in them spinning their wheels in the gym.
Like we said, once you have that extra 20-30 pounds of muscle you will be able to shed fat much more easily.
2 – Your Program Sucks
Once you find a great program to follow for the love of god please stop trying to modify it. Too many guys start off well on a proven program but then start making unnecessary changes to them and ultimately ruining them.
Stop replacing squats with leg extensions. Stop replacing chin-ups with wrist curls. You aren’t going to get big doing that.
Also make sure you aren’t training too much. If your program says to go to the gym 4 times per week then follow that – don’t add in an extra chest and bicep day as that will almost always result in overtraining. Remember you muscles need time to recover and training the muscles again before you have a chance to do that will only mess up your progress.
Let’s talk a bit more about isolation exercises. We aren’t going to say they are useless. They definitely have their place in your program but they shouldn’t be the focus.
Obviously you aren’t getting bigger by focusing on isolation exercises.
Bro Tip: Consider going through our Physique Building Survey to get a custom workout program for you.
If your chest day doesn’t include barbell or dumbbell bench press you are seriously shooting yourself in the foot. Yes we know that you might feel those dumbbell flys more in your pecs but we can assure you that you won’t build a massive chest by waving 20 pound dumbbells in the air.
Similarly when working shoulders you want to stick to the shoulder press first and not on lateral raises. Remember that heavy weights are what put the most mass on your muscles – particularly if you are relatively new to bodybuilding or you are a skinny guy.
Most guys change programs way too often – sometimes as much as every other week. How do you think you will make progress this way? It’s ok to try out different exercises or sets/reps combinations but you shouldn’t be using it as an escape from dealing with the real issue.
The fact is that if you are not performing the multi-joint exercises and gradually increasing the weight over time you won’t get bigger. Don’t blame your lack of progress on the fact that you did lateral raises for 4 sets instead of 3 – switching to a new program won’t fix the issue here.
Another reason that changing exercises too often is that it doesn’t allow you to properly overload the muscles. Remember that you need to be adding weight to the exercises over time. Let’s say you bench press 185 pounds for 5 reps on January 1st and on December 31st you are still lifting the same weight for 5 reps.
You most certainly did not put on any muscle. If you are constantly changing programs and doing different exercises you won’t have the opportunity to properly overload the muscles over time and therefore will not get any significant muscle growth.
We understand that sometimes it can be boring to perform the same program for an extended period of time but if you are constantly growing and getting stronger from it we promise you it will become very exciting. In fact, you will be bragging to your friends about your program and they will be asking you for your routine.
Consider going through our Physique Building Survey to get a custom workout program for you.
3 – Your Form Sucks
No matter what type of program you are doing – no matter how many sets or reps you do – form needs to be solid. It doesn’t matter what program you are on, a deadlift is a deadlift. If your form isn’t solid then you won’t get the benefit from the exercise and you will probably even hurt yourself.
A lot of people don’t take the time to learn proper form instead opting to aggressively increase the weight each week in an attempt to grow (or satisfy their egos). In the end these people end up dropping out due to injury or lack of progress. Sometimes they even blame their genetics to validate their lack of success.
Meanwhile, the guy who took his time to learn proper form and then gradually increase the weight over time – all the while focusing on performing the exercise properly – is making sick gains.
There are tons of great resources out there to learn how to properly perform squats, deadlifts, bench press and all the other lifts. Making sure you are doing it the right way will do wonders for your long-term progress.
Remember, there is no ideal program for someone with bad form. At the end of the day they won’t make much progress on any of them until they fix the fundamentals.
4 – You Don’t Get Enough Sleep
Do you take your cellphone with you to bed each night and browse the internet for an hour before eventually dozing off for a few hours? You are actually doing yourself a huge disservice. Sleeping is absolutely crucial to your progress – it’s when the majority of muscle repair is done and it’s when your body releases the most testosterone.
You need to get at least 8 hours a night of sleep and if you aren’t currently doing that you need to find a way to do it soon. Way too many guys ruin their progress by not getting enough rest – both at night and during the day. Remember that when you go to the gym and lift heavy weight you are putting a lot of stress on your body so you need to relax.
If you are having trouble sleeping due to other factors – like stress – you need to get these areas under control.
Having high stress levels can wreak havoc on your overall health, cause you to gain fat and take away your gains. If bodybuilding is something you are serious about you need to get rid of the outside distractions and sources of stress that are holding you back.
5 – Your T-Levels are Low
Testosterone is the most important hormone when it comes to building muscle and keeping body fat levels low.
That is the reason why men are more muscular than women and have an easier time building muscle, it is because men naturally produce more testosterone than women.
The same goes for guys who have an easier time building muscle and blow up in strength and size after just a few weeks of training these guys definitely have a high testosterone production in their body and/or superior genetics.
It’s so important, in fact, that bodybuilders around the world inject themselves with synthetic hormones in order to grow even bigger in shorter periods of time. While we aren’t recommending going that route you should definitely monitor your T-levels.
Getting them checked is actually a very simple process so if you think you might be showing symptoms of someone with low T-Levels or you just aren’t happy with your gains then get it checked out.
If your levels are in fact low (or you just want to get them higher) then look at modifying your diet, lifestyle or even taking a testosterone boosting supplement.
Taking in ingredients like D-Aspartic Acid, Oyster Extract, Vitmamin D3, Ginseng and some other ingredients you can boost your testosterone naturally, the best testosterone boosting supplements contain all of these ingredients.
6 – You Don’t Train Hard
Are you actually approaching every area of bodybuilding with intensity and dedication? Are you eating your 6 meals per day?
Is that the reasons why you aren’t getting bigger?
Are you tracking your weight, measurements and macros? Or are you half-assing it. Bodybuilding is tough, it requires a lot of dedication and some guys simply don’t want it badly enough.
You need to make sure you give it your all every time you go to the gym and definitely don’t start skipping workouts. While it might seem annoying at times – particularly when you want to reach for that chocolate sundae just of this – having a great body will make you feel better than any junk food will.
Most Important To Remember:
- Make sure you are consuming enough of high quality foods to support muscle growth. Diet is one of the most important factor when it comes down to building muscle.
- Focusing your training time on simple isolation exercises is not the way to go, make sure your program includes compound movements like, deadlifts, squats, lunges, bench press, chin ups, rows etc.
- Using bad form and “ego lifting” is not going to deliver the results you are hoping for. Make sure you contract the muscles with good form to support hypertrophy.
- Your body will not recover as efficiently and as fast if you are lacking sleep. Sleeping is also crucial for testosterone production which is the most important hormone for muscle building.
- Having low testosterone levels will make it much harder to build muscle. Make sure your t-levels are in check and use testosterone booster to increase them if they are low.
- Training like b*tch is not going to deliver the results you are hoping for, make sure you either train hard or stay at home!
Well that article ended up being a lot longer than we expected! Obviously there is a very low success rate when it comes to bodybuilding. Less than 1% of guys every end up building an impressive physique while the rest are simply subsidizing your gym membership.
Building a great physique is one of the most rewarding pursuits out there but it takes a ton of dedication. If you aren’t willing to do what it takes you simply won’t get very far. However, if you put in the work there’s no better feeling than having a top-notch body.
So make sure you do not follow victim of any of these 6 reasons why you aren’t getting bigger.